Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some Thoughts on Online Business Reviews

An interesting legal case about online reviews is discussed in this Wall Street Journal article:
 Yelp Reviews Brew a Fight Over Free Speech vs. Fairness 

As someone who runs a neighborhood blog, I have found that there's a pretty simple solution to this controversy: Run the comments section and business reviews the same way you would do it in person. I think too many people involved in online ventures mistakenly think that just because there's some digital distance between you and the people or business you are discussing that means you can deal with them differently than if you were in the same room together. Not in my opinion. I think people and businesses deserve respect in every case. That's why on this blog, when I review a new restaurant, for example, I highlight the positives and may throw in some recommendations for ways they could improve. I am, after all, a resident of Forest Hills and want great new businesses to improve.

Notice how I say "great new businesses." If you're coming into this neighborhood with a business that I believe will reverse the great improvements we have seen in Forest Hills over the past few years, I won't tear you down with some scathing post. I just turn my attention elsewhere.

I think some of the controversy discussed in the WSJ article is the result of laziness. If you put your mind to it, there is always a way for a website to be both respectful and informative at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. Drake while I like your positive attitude, does this mean all bad (and honest) reviews of FH businesses will not be published, because that's not in sync with your perspective?